Husk Cherries

At our CSA pickup on Monday, I was given a little box of these strange-looking things.

I had no idea what they were until our friendly farmer Hans told me they were husk cherries.

OK, if I'm being honest, I still had no idea what they were even after he told me they were husk cherries.

But I dutifully took them home (along with a copy of this blog post about one woman's love affair with the husk cherry) ... curious, of course, to try them.

In order to actually get to the cherry, you have to peel off the papery little husk they're dressed in. After I removed my first husk, I was surprised to discover the cherries weren't cherry-like at all. They were more of a translucent green hue, shaped like a tiny grape, and very firm.

I popped the little cherry in my mouth and was surprised again. I'd been expecting something sweet. These weren't sweet. But they weren't tart. They weren't ... well, pardon my inability to describe them, but they weren't really comparable to anything I'd tasted before.

In the blog post I mentioned above, the writer described the taste as vanilla pineapple. My verdict is still out on whether that's the case.

Hans says they're better than regular tomatoes, but I don't know that anything can be better than the bright red, juicy tomatoes sitting next to the husk cherries on our counter right now.

Still, the husk cherries are pretty darn interesting. And it turns out you can do more than just eat them plain like I've been doing. Like throw them in a green salad or even make a jam. Or dip them in chocolate (sounds good to me!) or bake them into pies, tarts, or cobblers. If I get a chance to bake this weekend, I might have to try one of those latter options.

Then again, I might just eat one or two here and there. They make a pretty handy snack.

If you haven't ever seen husk cherries before, don't be surprised. I learned (again, from that blog post I mentioned) that they're on the Slow Food USA "endangered" list.

I guess that makes me all the more excited that they were included in our CSA loot!

(Conservative Hubby, though, isn't all that excited. I expect he'll be sticking to the regular tomatoes.)

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